Classical 91.5

Whistling While We Work

Jan 25, 2019

"You know how to whistle, don't you Steve?"

Whistling girls and cackling hens,
Never make very good ends

Such was the wisdom bestowed upon me by one annoyed adult at my childhood whistling habit. She missed out on directing me to a future career as a siffleur – a whistler!

It’s a thing! Really! And after not turning up too much on a few searches, I have found a treasure trove of whistling resources – links to many other performers, directions on how to whistle (and improve your technique), and the Masters of Musical Whistling Festival later this year in Los Angeles.  

Before you go get totally lost in the delightful oubliette of whistling links and recordings, I have a few favorites to share, and a favor to ask: if you happen to know of anyone doing this in Rochester – will you please let me know?

We have a whole lot of interesting musical opportunities around town, but I have yet to hear of local champion whistlers that we could go hear or a whistling club that I could join. 

Oh right, and some of these whistlers…

Violinist Gilles Apap incorporates whistling (and a few other wild tricks) into his cadenza for a Mozart violin concerto:

The legendary harmonica and guitar player Toots Thielemans was a truly great whistler. There’s a great story of how he inspired a future champion whistler from the Netherlands.

and here is that world champion whistler – Geert Chatrou:

And this from Micheline Dax:

And Jean-Michel Quoisse specializes in classical favorites, including Bizet’s Carmen and Mozart: